Posted on September 09 2019
Following a great weekend racing at the World Championships the Pivot Factory Racing Team headed straight to West Virginia for the World Cup Finals in Snowshoe.
The last time the World Cup visited Snowshoe was over 15 years ago, well before any of the team were competing at this level. Everyone was excited for the new venue and to be back racing in the USA after a few years without an American round.
Wednesday – Track Walk
The riders were eager to see the totally new track and weren’t disappointed. Starting out with a cool right-handed hip jump straight into some fast ski piste turns and a huge road gap had Bernard stoked. Using the natural terrain on the hill the track builders had made some cool features over huge rocks before the track flattened out slightly and the amount of rocks increased.
The final 30 seconds of track started with a 150m sprint across a ski piste before a fun step down to 4 rollers that could be either doubled, tripled or singled. The speed remained super high as the riders came out of the woods and into the finish arena. One last jump over a shipping container fired the riders across the line where on race day they would be spinning out in their biggest gear.
Thursday - Training
A short sharp shower on Wednesday night made sure the clay-based mud on track was slick and sticky for the first training in the morning. Emilie was finding the flatter rock section toward the bottom of the track challenging and chose to soften up her suspension to keep the wheels tracking.
Drying out surprisingly well for the men’s training just after lunch Bernard and Matt could carry more speed through the trickier, rockier sections towards the bottom of the track. Bernard was loving the jumps at the top of the track, playing to his strengths and having fun on the bike.
Matt was going well through the janky rock sections. Plenty of practice at carrying speed during the Enduro races had him used to letting off the brakes and finding the fastest line through these sections.
Meanwhile Eddie was on track with the Red Bull Media team, analyzing the track and interviewing riders track side. Producing a brilliant video that showcased some great riding with a load of classic Eddie Masters comedy and whit.
Friday - Qualification
Waking up to thick fog the morning of qualification the track was back to slick and loose. The mud on the braking spots had become slippery and braking traction was limited. Riders were having to ride smooth and calculated to carry speed.
The sun came out for the qualifying round and the track started to run faster. Emilie was our first rider down the hill and was looking good over the last jump and crossing the line at over 48kph. A mistake in one of the rock gardens saw her lose all her speed at a crucial point. Keeping on pushing she qualified 8th and was happily surprised how close her time was to the podium spots despite her mistake.
Bernard came down next and although back riding his hand was still a bit stiff following a big week racing at the World Championships. Riding well but a bit much within himself Bernard crossed the line slightly worried he hadn’t done enough. Qualifying in 54th Bernard was happy to make it into the main event and was ready to push hard for finals.
Matt made a big mistake in the first split, almost stalling and coming to a stand still for his qualification run. Pushing hard to gain time back on the lower section Matt looked fast and composed. Qualifying mid field Matt was happy to make it into the finals for the last World Cup race of the year and was keen to put down a good run for all the American fans.
Saturday - Finals
Huge crowds were expected for the finals and didn’t disappoint. Despite the remote location people had made their way from all across the US to watch the race.
Emilie started off strong going big and stylish off the first jump before settling into her run. Emilie was less than one second back a split two. A great exit on the tricky rock garden saw her carry speed all the way through the sprint to the finish line where she posted the fastest time so far. Emilie knew her run wasn’t perfect but after some time in the hot seat she eventually finished in 7th, a great result on a track that didn’t fully suite her strengths.
Bernard was the next pivot rider to drop in and was going hard. Peddling anywhere he could and pumping all the terrain, he looked to be riding well. Crossing the line over 2 seconds up Bernard was happy with his run but now had a long wait for all the other riders to make their mark.
Matt dropped in a few riders after Bernard and was looking fast on the big screen in front of the growing crowd. Matt was within touching distance at the first few splits but going too fast off the first in a tricky series of drops caused him to get bucked and almost stop before the next drop. With super tight times this was enough to drop Matt back a number of places finishing in 44th.
Following an incredibly exciting race Bernard finished in 26th, he was chuffed with that result and some fast split times showed that his speed was coming back following his hand injury.
With the overall titles also decided at the weekend Bernard and Eddie positioned in impressive 26th and 27th despite missing two and three rounds respectively. Emilie climbed up to 6th in the overall which is a great end to the season following a tough start with a niggling shoulder injury.
The team also managed to finish 10th in the team overall, another reflection of a great year despite two riders missing multiple rounds.